15 January – 28 February 2013
This exhibition displays Parviz Tanavoli's recent rugs collection. More commonly known for his sculptures and as one of the founders of the 'Saqqakhaneh School', Tanavoli has for many decades researched, written about, collected and created rugs. The artist's ongoing interest in Iranian visual culture has pervaded his artistic practice, which spans over fifty years, as well as his creation of rugs: pictorial, lion, prayer design, and gabbeh. Subjects explored in his rug designs are not only culled from the tribal and nomadic arts and culture of Iran but from the themes found in his art, such as Farhad the Mountain Carver, Lovers, Poet, Lion, Bird and Cage. He also draws inspiration from traditional Persian literature, most notably the mythological stories of King Hushang Shah and Sheikh San'an. In 1973, Tanavoli founded the Tehran Rug Society, organizing two tribal weave exhibitions in 1975 and 1976.
The first solo exhibition displaying his rug designs was held in Tehran's Zand Gallery in 1978. From 1975-92 his Lion Rugs of Fars exhibition, which displayed his personal collection of lion rugs, toured the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Australia and Iran. Following the 1979 revolution, and the Iran-Iraq war, socio-political circumstances prevented him from displaying his sculptures in Iran, leading him to focus on designing and producing gabbehs. His first gabbeh exhibition was held in Vienna's Bessim Gallery in 1986, followed by others in London, Zurich and Cologne. A selection of his rugs are held at the Tate Modern, London, Kerman Museum and in several private collections. This is Tanavoli's second exhibition - in 2009 his sculptures were exhibited alongside photographic works by Abbas Kiarostami - at Meem Gallery. His work was also presented by Meem at the Abu Dhabi Art Fair in 2010 and 2011; the first display exhibited a selection of Tanavoli's bronze sculptures (with the paintings of Iraqi artist, Dia Azzawi), and the second display showcased his monumental, stainless-steel, heech sculpture.